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f i b e r l i s c i o u s

grocery

"Fiberliscious?," he said tapping the shopping list.

"Fiberliscious." he said matter-of-factly, "The name brand gives me gas so I get the more expensive Fiberliscious."

"Can you tell a big difference?"

"It's not like I drink a fiber supplement drink because it's delicious. Like I'm going to trade out mimosas for delicious orange flavored Fiberlicious. Even champagne nor vodka could turn it into a pleasurable drinking experience. I just care than I'm not turning meetings in the conference room at work into a cruel smelloriffic chamber of horrors. They are betting you'll buy their space age TANG style drink with mystery mulch in exchange for trips to the restroom not resembling something from the La Brea tar pits."

"Well I'm glad you are happy with your BM's boys. Such a relief." the cashier sarcastically chirped, interrupting their not so private TMI session.

"Can I get a price check on Fiberliscious on Checkstand Six," she barked loudly into the speakerphone, "Price check on Fiberliscious on Checkstand Six, please."

A clerk walked up to her and confirmed the price from a handheld computer. He swiped his debit card.

Glancing at the receipt briefly, she announced to them proudly, "You saved 32% with your savers card!"

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Dear John....

typewriter manhattan crumpled papers

"These letters have gotten a LOT more complicated than they used to be.", she thought to herself, letting the Johnny Walker work it's magic on her tongue. -

 

“It’s not you - it’s me”- nope - it is all about him

 

"I want different things now"- like a solid witness protection program

 

"I've grown and well...."- you haven't.

 

“this isn’t the relationship I wanted.”- duh. too simple. -"i really need some space"- several thousand miles of it. buh bye, no.

 

"who in the hell taught you to kiss?"- wow harsh. but it was more like experiencing slimy mouth-to-mouth resuscitation than kissing. really. gross. weird. where does someone learn tha...

 

"i just can't see myself married to you."- leave alone in the same room.

 

"i'll leave the ring at your mothers"- because we both know that's where you'll run crying like a little bitch.

 

"at least I'll save money on all the drinking I've been doing"

 

She laughed out loud at that one and took another glorious deep sip of her triple manhattan.

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fairhaven

leaf

Have you ever witnessed a fall leaf falling - or better yet the first one from a tree that appears on fire? One single brave giant maple leaf of a golden aged colour falls. So delicate - it doesn't fall like a rock into a stream, but more like a extravagant ballerina. If you stop and watch it carefully enough - you can hear Mendelssohn playing in accompaniment. Concentrating on the beauty, her slow last dance until she gently lands on the wet grass of morning.

I catch myself looking out for them now, but so often we miss them, these kinds of quiet events become a blur in the velocity of life.

I was broken out of my trance by a car horn. I had stopped to take in my dancing leaf apparently in the middle of the street. On the worst possible day to do so. I popped out of my fantasy surrounded by the loud hustle of freshman arriving at Fairhaven.

The entire campus had been transported by rail from Massachusetts to new Washington shoreline by rail. Each brick labeled and numbered - each arch recreated.

Mind you - it was something you either found entrancing and charming or a stark reminder of the kind of world you'd moved here to escape in the first place. There didn't seem to be any in between on the matter. What it was for these freshman? It was their first step away from a farm or a factory or the lives their parents were leading. Mothers fretting over how they would eat, how often they'd actually do laundry - and Fathers mostly, glad to have their children off on the next step - well, unless you were talking about their pocketbooks. A liberal arts education was not a inexpensive undertaking.

But! Before we get too carried away about Fairhaven College, and her various goings on - our true story is about "The" Fairhaven. It sat on the fringes of campus, curiously but not deliberately down the winding hill behind the performing arts and writer's school.

This bistro and bar with it's mix of outside and indoor choices - brunch at seemingly every hour of the day, became the off campus home of all variety to storytellers, demagoguery, fiery romance, employment and escape. It became almost better than an internship on the actual campus to score a fabled job in a crimson red starched shirt and the white apron of The Fairhaven.

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Mutual of Omaha's Wild...

turtle

They sat on the couch together, wrapped on in a blanket watching tv.

"Leatherback sea turtle males enter the sea as a child, they will never return to land, " the documentary explained.

"Wow, imagine being born into a world with the crush of gravity - and then leaving it almost immediately to be in the three D world of the ocean for the rest of your life. Never knowing a sunny beach as a male sea turtle."

"leatherback turtles return to the region where they hatched to mate and nest.", said the soft british narrator.

"I wonder if they all become gay once they are back in the water."

His husband hit the mute button.

"Gay? and how do you come up with this amazing scientific thought, Jacque Cousteau?"

"well - it says that even the lady turtles only come on land once a year to nest and leave eggs."

"so if they're all gay - where do the eggs get fertilized?"

"no - what I meant is - for a month a year - they all becoming heterosexual - through some hormonal change - return to where they were born, fuck everything in sight - then go back to hanging with their homo homies for the rest of the year."

"homo. homies. you frighten me. so you know human sex doesn't work that way right?"

"omg no. I am a gold star gay - no vag badge all the way. i wonder if nature creates a mad flush of gay hormones back into the turtles after mating season makes them FORGET THEY EVER HAD HETEROSEX! Wow, I'm brilliant!

But, honey, I'm more worried about all these parentless little leatherbacks who head to the sea with no mommy or daddy to guide them.

What if a shark is waiting off shore in a feeding frenzy. they'd be better on the beach - under little umbrellas with mai tais instead of in the mean dangerous ocean."

"um. wow. hormones to make male turtles forget they had straight sex? you are not well.", he said unmuting the television.

"The most predominant threats to leatherback sea turtles occur on nesting beaches. Coastal development has reduced the area where they can successfully nest, dogs and other animals often destroy their nests, and people harvest their eggs for food. Naturally, only one or two of thousands of eggs will make it to adulthood." said the narrator.

"I'm beginning to think I'm glad i'm not a sea turtle. gay or straight."

"amen sister. now shush and let me enjoy the program."

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resplendent

pink waiting room chairs

It wasn't clear to her what she was going to do. She'd received the call a few horrible hours beforehand.

The car had skidded out of control on early morning black ice and rolled, killing the driver, her brother-in-law, and the front seat passenger, her twin sister.

Peggy had met David a few years previous at school. David taught art at a school for the deaf, where Peggy had taken her first job out of college teaching English. Despite then working and living in the deaf world, Peggy was in love. She and David were soon married.

Behind the door across from her was their son Jeffrey. Miraculously, but for scrapes, bruises and a broken wrist, he had survived. Her hands fumbled with her handbag, as she waited impatiently in the hallway.

She was dressed for Easter Mass. A resplendent pink dress, an exaggerated white pearl necklace. She'd come straight here without thinking about it, and now felt horribly overdressed, pretentious and ridiculous. Her makeup ran on her face, her hair was frizzing out. The day so far had been the worst she could remember.

She did not know sign language, and earlier, had tried speaking to the boy through an interpreter. When the gravity of the situation occurred to him, he let out this unearthly moan, unlike any noise she had ever heard. He turned away from them in the bed and said or did nothing else.

Here she was a few long minutes later, desperately trying to find the right thing to do, when her son nudged her.

He said quietly, "He's texting me."

"Texting you?" , she replied, woken up from her worried mind.

Of course, they were texting! The language of any kid under fifteen these days is texting or DM's. Why hasn't she thought of that? 'Pull your head out, Margery,' she thought to herself.

"Yeah, he's worried you are angry with him."

"Oh my gosh, honey, what for?"

"Here…" , he said, handing her the phone.

"I am afraid Aunty is upset with me for crying." the text read.

"Oh my dear, no," she said outloud. "Let's go in and talk to him together. Would you type for me?"

Her son nodded and they got up and opened the door to Jeffery's room. He had sat up in bed, his face lit up as they entered.

"Tell him that we love him and would never be angry with him. That we are here to help him, to take care of him."

The two boys looked at each other and tapped their phones.

Her son showed him his screen.

"I don't know what to do. What do I do?"

She pulled a chair up close to his bed.

"We take care of each other," she said softly, letting her son transcribe. "This is a horrible thing, but we'll take care of each other."

She reached out and gently touched his face. He held her hand for a moment and then let out a sudden giggle.

Looking down at his phone, smiling, he began furiously tapping. Giggling again, he showed her his words.

"Mama never wore pink because she said you always wore it so much better. She was right."

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outta

black and white shot of shower

He'd spent all day prepping. He'd done the perfect beauty ritual - a bubbling clay mask, scrub and moisturizer. He'd oiled and straightened his beard, his fucking facial hair was flawless.

He'd pressed his favorite shirt. The floral with just enough formalness but still casual at heart. He'd not eaten the day before so he could fit into his sexy slim fit jeans. He'd back off 30% on his usual fragrances.

He arrived at dinner. He sipped on chardonnay and decided against more bread - until thirty minutes had passed. The server understood, she'd obviously been there herself.

"Even if he's not coming you should have something to eat, honey.", she'd said.

He had the largest alfredo pasta ever, more wine than seemed humanly possible and two tiramisus for dessert, with a third in a to-go box.

no email from him. no text.

After stumbling home, he had already been sitting under the hot shower for 20 minutes waiting for his sour, angry mood to improve.

"Wash that man right outta my hair, my ass.", he muttered to himself.

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despite this soft death

donuts

A bookish man with an unkempt mop of greying hair sat nervously fumbling through large pieces of parchment. Stepping up into the soft mauve spotlight, staring up nervously, he began to speak.

"Are you reminded of your youth when you have a mouthful of fresh hot french fries?

Of lost loves at the taste of a lemon poppyseed cake.

Of your drunk aunty the way your tongue rolls around in your mouth over a perfect risotto.

How he tasted in the shower that November morning before he left when you crunch into a crumpet laden with butter and honey.

Your father who used to embarrass you screaming at waiters in restaurants when you are served a slightly over-toasted sourdough crouton in a caesar salad.

Carbs are........

Carbs.................

are killing you softly. Yet, despite this soft death, we cannot help ourselves.

Carbs are love,

our intimacies,

our memories,

Carbs are sex.

All this and more when I cried a small tear this morning when I woke up alone, without donuts."

Finger snaps moved across the room like the wave at a football stadium, the room filling with affirmative murmurs of no longer hushed observations.

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the dirt is still here

sprout

I was out for my Sunday run when I saw him kneeling in one of the flower beds. The old Placer place had been on the market so long it really was a surprise when it finally sold. Its yard was overgrown and the house, far removed from the street, took on a southern gothic air. The moving vans came and went, the neighbors all eager to see who their new neighbor was. He continued his work nonstop until everything was meticulously manicured and restored. Watching him work was like watching someone fulfill the most devout monastic journey.

This admiration went for several Sundays. We grew to expect each other, looking expectantly from our respective worlds. It started with a smile to a stranger, which turned into a friendly wave. Finally, I circled back after a wave and stopped to talk to him.

He introduced himself as ‘the gardener,’ curiously with no proper name. The first thing I noticed was his dirty fingernails. The second was the large-scale chain and lock around his neck. He wore a sunhat that was in scale with the rest of him. He was a gigantic man with tattoos seemingly everywhere.

I told him how much I admired his dedication to the garden, that I never seem to find time to work in my own. That with the hustle bustle of life - the internet, the job, the wife, the kids, my folks - that it felt like so many things fell through my fingers.

"See here," he motioned, pointing to a handful of dirt in his hands, letting it fall between his fingers, "What you are missing is that even though it falls through my fingers.... the dirt is still here."

He reached down, gently caressing the fallen dirt he'd just dropped like one might the soft cheek on a child.

"It never goes away, ya see....," he said with a friendly smile, looking back up at me,“..it's just waiting here to be worked another time. Sure as shit, it fell through my fingers, it just means I have to reach for it again another time rather than considering the earth as "lost" to me, or as some kind of failure. The dirt is always waiting for me here. The dirt doesn't get offended.

Your only requirement is be to aware and present right in this instant, enjoy who you are with now, like we clearly are......versus being distracted by all the things you could be doing. Do your very best for the person or task you are in right now, and let the rest fall away.

I figure that's how I became a good man in the garden. When I'm out here - nothing else matters, and I give my best self to just this task. There are other tasks in life, to be sure, but they'll come in their own time. You'll see. It's like a magic spell."

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No Prince Can Save You Now

warriors

Snow White was enjoying the quiet. The guys were off at the mine. The bluebirds were off at a convention and not asking for duets with her. She had finished her chores and was enjoying a cup of chamomile.

She should have known better.

It was too quiet.

She was about to move for her sword when the boot smashed into the side of her face. She tumbled into the corner.

“Snow.,” snarled the female voice.

“Pocahontas.,” she said, bluntly acknowledging the tall warrior woman, sword drawn, standing in her living room.

“I heard what you did to Ariel. You know all the legend says is, ‘Cut off their head, absorb their power,’ – it says nothing about filet them and hang them in the harbor for everyone to see. That’s not normal. You’re sick. You need help.”

“That’s rich coming from the woman who left her prince to come back and live with seven dwarfling husbands in a small house and one bed. Pervert.”

The sword sang from behind Pocahontas and flew into Snow’s hands.

“Still relying on fairy god-mother to keep you alive with enchantments, eh, Snow? Let’s end this.”

"I will cut you up into all of the fucking colors of the wind, you bitch!"

The swords clashed in a flash of magic and steel.

Snow stared her down defiantly.

“There can be only one.”

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silence

faucet

Silence has crashed around me. Paralyzing and terrifying as my usual busy previous world has become utterly silent.

I used to run to the window at the sound of a car. The busses stopped a few weeks ago - and then the airplanes stopped. Food boxes arrive in the dark of night, and we all go out at our prescribed time to get them. Alone, I look up and down the street, greeted by nothing at all.

At first, we all felt saved by the internet with its limitless supply of information, fauxtertainment. Distraction. But that is all gone now too.

I imagine ancient ancestors having reverse concerns as the society of their time got louder and louder and louder. Until, however, we created so much that it came crashing down around us in what felt like an instant.

The leaky faucet in the guest bedroom is a sound usually drummed out by the din of everything else going on. Now it feels like my tell-tale heart.

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